The Latest on the Zika Virus
107 cases of the Zika virus have now been reported among U.S. travelers returning from Zika infected areas. Our own Puerto Rico is now suffering from the spread of the virus. They have reported 35 locally transmitted cases of the virus so far. There are another 117 diagnosed cases in Puerto Rico that were reported after the above number was counted.
The greatest risk is still to pregnant women. Nine cases have been reported of U.S. pregnant women catching the Zika virus while traveling to an area where the virus is active. 10 more reports are being investigated by the CDC of other pregnant women who traveled to Zika-infected areas. All of the women experienced at least one of the reported symptoms including fever, joint pain, conjunctivitis, and rash. Two women have already had miscarriage, although experts don’t confirm that they are definitely linked to the virus. One baby was born with severe microcephaly, and another woman decided to terminate the pregnancy when brain abnormalities were discovered on an ultra sound and MRI. One woman who didn’t catch the virus until her third trimester had a seemingly healthy baby.
What is alarming to officials is the number of women in these nine cases who have experienced problems with their pregnancy or with the brain development of their infant. This suggests that the Zika virus doesn’t just cause microcephaly in a few pregnant women who catch it, but in a pretty large number, meaning pregnant women need to be extremely careful not to catch this virus.
Does the chance of a pregnant young woman you know catching this virus concern you? What are you telling people to do to protect themselves against this outbreak?